Fam Mirza and Mirza Minds - Changing the World 1-Face at a Time : Under30CEO Fam Mirza and Mirza Minds - Changing the World 1-Face at a Time : Under30CEO
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Fam Mirza and Mirza Minds – Changing the World 1-Face at a Time

| September 18, 2012 | 21 Comments

Fam Mirza is the Founder and Creative Director at Mirza Minds, a product branding and marketing firm based in Chicago. With a number of successful celebrity related projects under his belt, Mirza is now hard at work on launching the 1Face Watch campaign, which marks his entry into the charity space. I recently caught up with Fam to talk to him about this latest development in his career.

According to Mirza the 1Face project is much more than a watch, it’s about the brand which socializes the product, meets metrics, and creates social change throughout the world. The brand’s mission is “Changing the world, 1: face at a time.” When people grasp that concept and want to share it on their social media pages and with their friends, that’s when the campaign takes on a life of its own.

Sales of the watch go to fund six different charities, such as the American Cancer Society, Keep a Child Alive and The Adventure Project, each one linked to a different color watch. Consumers contribute to the charity of their choice by purchasing watches and are told how many they must buy in order to underwrite nutritional supplements for a child for 1 week (1), fund AIDS treatment for 1 month for 1 child (4), or build a well in Rwanda (625), encouraging them to bring in friends to help meet their goals.

The branding of this charitable campaign was begun well in advance of the September 24th launch that will take place on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, with a well-produced video trailer (that he directed – his first!) on youtube garnering over 8000 views in just over a month, 4000 followers on Facebook and 5000 Instagram followers, who are in turn actively sharing campaign images to many thousands more.

Creating a buzz is something that Mirza has been doing since he was 15, when he and his partner saw their idea for a split jersey promoted at the 2001 Super Bowl by rapper Nelly, as he sported the garment during the halftime show. Riding the wave of the jersey trend, successful hand to hand sales quickly gave way to even wider internet distribution at a time when the net as we know it today was still in its relative infancy.

In 2009-2010, Fam was introduced to musician and entrepreneur Diddy by his manager Hiriam Hicks. He developed and promoted a wildly successful series of concert tour after-parties for him known as The Diddy Parties. A few months later, Mirza further cemented his reputation as a player in the world of celebrity branding, when he worked with internet sensation Antoine Dodson, to create and sell the popular Bed Intruder Halloween Costume.

I asked Fam what inspired the decision to shift his focus from purely commercial projects to charitable works. He replied, “I grew up in a third world country until I was 5 or 6… I feel like I’ve experienced the hardships of the third world as well as the benefits of the first. It was something I wanted to bring together to help humanity…”

Mirza was fortunate to get early support to launch his business in the form of funding for the split jersey venture from Chicago Bears player Desmond Clark. From there, he’s been able to fund each subsequent project out of proceeds from the last one. He’s built his fourteen person creative agency with team members from across the globe who have worked alongside him for the last eight years.

His greatest challenge has not been getting all of his creatives together, it’s been keeping the abundance of ideas from his team focused and organized. As he explains it, “An idea is worth nothing, execution is everything.” This focus on execution is one of his chief pieces of advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. The other is, “You have to love what you do in order to be great at it.” He further describes the passion he feels for his work. “When I wake up in the morning, I think about coming to the office… I just love to create… The greatest thing out of all of it is when the world interacts with your creation.”

Now he’s taking that interaction with the world to a whole new level. For Mirza, marketing is all about creativity and connecting with his consumers. He sees this as an inherently visual process, incorporating quality typography, photography and video as featured elements in his outreach. He explains, “You go viral when you create premium content which the world can share. If you share a photo from my site and get over 12000 likes, that says something,  and that’s how you do viral.” A big fan of Instagram, he is convinced that this will be the social networking site to beat in 2014, surpassing in popularity even its increasingly commercial parent company, Facebook.

If the early numbers are an accurate indication, then Mirza’s ideas about utilizing creative visual elements to build a strong social media buzz and galvanize civic involvement in humanitarian causes are on target. He’s betting that consumers are hungry for something more than just a product. With the 1 Face Watch, he’s aiming to give it to them.

Listen to the full interview here:

Deborah Oster Pannell is a writer who specializes in the arts, culture, special events and creative projects of all kinds. As Director of Communications for the tech start-up eventwist, she also manages their blog. Some of her favorite work is featured on modernlifeblogs.comlizkingevents.com, and her own blog, shesaysyes.wordpress.com. Currently she is launching Project Mavens, a literary, editorial design collective, with partner & writer Lillian Ann Slugocki. On Twitter @projectmaven.

About the Author: Deborah Oster Pannell

Deborah Oster Pannell is a freelance writer & blogger and the founder of Project Mavens (http://projectmavens.com), a literary based content creation firm. She is also the former director of communications at eventwist.com. She writes her own blog, shesaysyes.wordpress.com and is a regular contributor at ModernLifeBlogs.com and LizKingEvents.com. She specializes in the arts, innovative & socially responsible businesses and organizations, health & wellness and special events. Her online portfolio can be found at https://projectmaven.contently.com/

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Category: Entrepreneur Interviews

  • J Potenza

    wow inspiring..

  • Chris

    This is truly an amazing accomplishment…the world needs more people like Faraz!!!

  • C Brinko

    This is an amazing accomplishment….The world needs more people like Faraz in it!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/patrick.l.echols Patrick L. Echols

    Very impressive Faraz i Truly expect these watches to help change the world one face at a time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Mrs.NBaptista Ni Ema Baptista

    This is an amazing man determined to save the world and inspire others. If the world had more selfless people like this we would be better off !

  • Zac Park

    After working with Fam. I’ve truly been impressed by his entrepreneurial and philanthropic mindset. Watch out for this guy, he’ll be taking over the world shortly.

  • Mark

    Very interesting interview. This is an amazing cause and I’d love to see more companies launch commodities that are socially-conscious.

  • angelas

    If we had more innovators such as him in the charity space the World would be a much better place. The charity space still uses traditional marketing routes Ha! Not in this economy

  • amanda egan

    i understand what he is saying about the premium content but you have to have a lot of MONEY & creativity to do create that so the average person with a product idea is not able to do that!

  • alex smith

    this man started the split jersey at 15 years of age and i don’t believe he ever stopped working.He has worked with P. Diddy ,Drake, and my favorite the bed intruder!!! Before one face watches i had never heard of Fam Mirza but now i will keep my eye on this young man.

  • pat dorsy

    this is an excellent project designed to help people living in extreme poverty. About 3 weeks ago I myself had to ask what I can do to help and Mr. Mirza personally contacted me himself; thanked me for my good heart and intentions told me the watches will be available for purchase soon and to help all i had to do was support and keep my good heart. I wish Mr. Mirza all the success and blessings in the world.

  • mike matteson

    i have done an excessive amount of research on this project because 9 out of 10 “charity” projects are more scams! I have contacted each charity that is behind One-Face and everything is “kosher” to say the least! Not only did the authenticate the watches were being backed by them they also let me no One-Face watches has a full metrics plan available and then i noticed it was on top of many pictures on the facebook page I am proud to say as soon i can i will be purchasing quite a few of the One- face watches.

  • http://twitter.com/projectmaven Deborah Pannell

    I’m so glad you did that research. It’s easy to be cynical, because there is so much corruption and BS out there. That’s why it’s so refreshing when you meet someone who is committed to doing something right and is taking the time to make sure everything is in place, the way it should be.

  • eyeforgood

    not trying to be cynical but i would love to see how much change ppl will bring…i believe ppl are fickle

  • hjg12

    how cool

  • http://www.facebook.com/nicholas.mills.714 Young LifestylePreneur

    Great project, I check out the site and watched the video.

  • Kyle Butler

    Actually, Mirza didn’t create the ‘split jersey’ that Nelly wore at Super Bowl XXXV. A different Chicago teenager did.

    - http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2001-06-04/news/0106040107_1_jerseys-halftime-show-mob
    - http://www.wgntv.com/videobeta/277b9753-c79c-44b4-a973-d13aff6b84ac/

    I’m not sure why Mirza is claiming he made that jersey when it’s been plainly documented otherwise.

  • Kyle Butler

    Actually, Mirza didn’t create the ‘split jersey’ that Nelly wore at Super Bowl XXXV. A different Chicago teenager did.

    - http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2001-06-04/news/0106040107_1_jerseys-halftime-show-mob
    - http://www.wgntv.com/videobeta/277b9753-c79c-44b4-a973-d13aff6b84ac/

    I’m not sure why Mirza is continuing to claim that he made that jersey when it’s been plainly documented otherwise.

    If jerseys were still in style (i.e. a worthwhile proposition), I’m sure he could face legal action for false attribution.

  • Diana Bergen

    Kyle if you researched further you would know Matt was his partner.

  • Susan Zeineth-Collins

    I am not totally convinced about Mirza’s company. They have been giving me the run around for weeks. I ordered watches for Christmas and although his company charges the credit card immediately, no watches have shipped. At this point, it has been 15 days and no shipping. Very much feeling scammed.

  • Tyler W

    Many other people have had claims similar to yours sadly. They took it up with the BBB to settle their claims too, you should check them out. Makes the business seem questionable at the least.